The idea that Finland defeated the Soviets an amazingly persistent myth. The fact is that the Finns did bloody the Russians' noses in the early phases of the war, but in the end the sheer weight of numbers (and some command reforms of the purge-ravaged Red Army)could not be withstood. The Finns sued for peace and in the Treaty of Moscow, ceded 11% of their national territory, representing about 30% of their economic resources, to the USSR. They had to give 75 locomotives and 2000 rail cars. They had to give ships and trucks. They had to give something like a third of their hydroelectric generating capacity and one of their largest industrial complexes. The war worked out very well for the Russians, except for the bunch of people killed. And when did the Russians ever care about that?
I think you're right in one respect that the Russians don't care about casualties...or didn't. The fellow I talked to had been in the army for over a year because he said he was an officer and everybody HAD to join the Army. I think he was in one of their infantry units because the guy shot very well and seemed to enjoy his time at the range. He said his father had taught him to shoot when he was 5-6 years old by hunting rabbits.
My point was that the Finns don't think they "lost" but that they just outlasted the Russians and made them bleed. That's the impression that I got from him. He also hated the Russians, even the immigrant ones here in the US..... hate really is about the nicest emotion he displayed where Russians were concerned.
It's going to be tough to see Russian tanks or APC's rolling through the Finnish country side without collecting a couple of rounds.
Finland was never absorbed into the Russian Empire as were the Baltics or Ukraine. It was mostly self-governing.